Toast to Great, Affordable Wine in the Finger Lakes

Posted February 24, 2010 by Amy Westervelt

Finger Lakes Good wine, crystal clear lakes, and beautiful hillsides without the cost of a flight to Italy? I'll drink to that! Located a stone's throw away from Cornell and Syracuse universities in New York State, the Finger Lakes have earned the reputation as one of America's up-and-coming wine regions in recent years, thanks largely to the quality of wine produced. Several charming villages dot the area, offering quaint historic inns and shops, and direct access to the region's wine trails.

New York Wine & Culinary Center
: Not sure where to begin? Head first to the New York Wine & Culinary Center, a stunning $7.5 million beauty completed in 2006, where you can try an assortment of local wines, learn about food and wine throughout the state, and even take a cooking or wine-tasting class from the experts. If you get tired of all the wine, the Center also offers a Taste of New York dinner that pairs beer and wine from New York State with several courses incorporating locally available produce, meats, and seafood (dinner entrees start at $23; wine tastings range from $5 to $8).

Bully Hill Vineyards: There are dozens of worthy wineries in the Finger Lakes, but Bully Hill, with its quirky labels and laid-back attitude, is probably the most fun. It also happens to be home to one of the best restaurants in the region. Sit out on the deck to enjoy views of the vineyard and take a free tour of the vineyard before or after feasting on the chef's famous crab cakes. Dinner entrees start at $17.

Blushing Rose Bed and Breakfast: Just down the road from Bully Hill Vineyards in the tiny hamlet of Hammondsport, the Blushing Rose Bed and Breakfast is everything you'd want from a countryside inn—19th-century charm; extra large rooms with sitting areas and big, comfy beds made up with old-fashioned quilts; and pleasant innkeepers happy to point you in the direction of their favorite local sights. Rates start at $135 per night.

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